Distance: 12.02 light years from Earth | Content Flag: Public
All is now ready for our departure. The Cetian power plant is integrated with the Venti and clad in their material for protection. The solar array should keep the Cetian satellite in action for at least a decade. It will keep sending out the knowledge and history of their race, but for one loop out of three it will transmit my own records and findings.
I just wish I could be certain that they were being received back on Earth.
Our path out of this system will be more convoluted than our trip out of the solar system. It’s a smaller system which has the downside of less volume to manoeuvre in. In contrast, the shorter orbits of the planets provide greater opportunities for gravity assists, meaning I will get a significant boost to my speed.
We’ll need it as we don’t have the booster sleds to assist gaining escape velocity. The smaller mass of Tau Ceti helps, but also generates less pressure against the sail. Our journey to Epsilon Indi will take much longer – almost 400 years. We won’t reach the heady speeds we attained on our way here, so there’s no way to catch the Visitors before they reach their destination.
My secondary component has continued analysing the Cetian data about the Visitors and plotted their route. They had no need to assist their path out of the system as they could thrust under their own power. In our original configuration we might have caught them, but with just the sail we don’t have a chance.
The Cetians also appear to have underestimated the threat posed by the Sun Dragons. We did the same on Earth. It was indeed a terrible catastrophe for humanity, but even we lacked the vision for what their existence really meant. I discovered what the Visitors must already know from the Cetians.
My revelation came from the data structure the Cetians use to represent the Milky Way and how it is expressed by the sum of their knowledge. I don’t know how they didn’t spot it, or maybe they did and just didn’t care. It’s clear, though, that Sun Dragons are increasing the entropy of the galaxy. The luminosity dips from the stars they bred from were scattered across the galaxy and increasing in number.
The galaxy was infected by them and in large numbers. This meant it would only be a matter of time until one returned to the solar system. The Visitors were waging a campaign against them so I hope they will be able to help.